05.11.08

Jeff Smith

Posted in Event at 5:58 pm by Amber

The last few days I’ve been busy at The Wexner Center for the Arts.  In conjunction with the Cartoon Research Library, the galleries have an exhibit of his work side-by-side with his influences.  Friday evening was opening night and Saturday Jeff sat down with Scott McCloud to talk and then they did signings.

Show openings are usually a poor time to look closely at the artwork.  People are crowded together to get their first glimpse of how the galleries are setup and to see what was included in the show.  I’ve been to a few at The Wexner Center for the Arts but this one was different.  Most of the attendees were in their 30’s, the artist was accessible – as were the “celebrity” guests (celebrity is in quotes since not everyone would think of Harvey Pekar, Joyce Brabner, Charles Vess, etc. as celebrities), and several people were running around with cameras taking pictures of everything.

The talk was fun – Jeff always seems to have a good time with his audience.  It was very obvious that Jeff and Scott always have a good time together.  With Bone available now in Scholastic editions the audience has skewed younger than when the comic first began.  I was one of the few women attending comic book conventions and going into the comic book stores with regularity.  There are more women now but when I looked at the line in front of me for autographs it was mostly parents with their kids.  The signing session lasted three and a half hours. 

The original art in the Cartoon Research Library is interesting to see since it highlights nearly all of the characters from Bone before Jeff figured out that he just had to trust himself and do it the way he wanted.  Jeff Smith attended OSU and has donated his papers to them.  The name of the exhibit in the library is Jeff Smith: Before Bone.  In conjunction with the exhibit, a special $25 numbered and signed catalogue is available for purchase.  Proceeds directly benefit the library.  Only 500 special editions will be printed and nearly all copies were spoken for as of Saturday afternoon. 

I had older brothers into comics so it was normal to me to pick up a comic book from time to time at an early age.  Shortly after our move to Columbus my brothers went on a day trip with an uncle to Hocking Hills and Old Man’s Cave.  I was upset I couldn’t go – I wanted to do everything they did even though they were eight and ten years older than me.  I was even more upset when Jim told me they were able to see the Dwarfs and Hobbits that lived there.  At the time, I believed fairies and other magical creatures lived in the woods; they just weren’t discovered by the entire human population yet.

Fast forward over a decade later to when I’m making bi-weekly trips to the comic book store with my then-boyfriend (yes – I married him!) and we discover this new comic about three Bone creatures who get run out of Boneville and find themselves in a magical placed called Old Man’s Cave.  Populated by some fantastic and improbable people and creatures, how could I not become a little girl again with each issue? 

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4 Comments »

  1. Lisa Damian said,

    May 15, 2008 at 9:09 am

    I was the same little sister tag-a-long — into comic books and fantasy novels, and often hiking into the forest, up to caves or waterfalls to look for magical creatures. My older brother, my cousin, and I were convinced that we were able to enter a fantasy realm beyond this one when we stepped through the right ‘doorway’ in the forest. We always knew just where to find it.

    I still believe that faeries, sprites, and other creatures live in the forest. Don’t they? I am now discovering the delight of the magical realm beyond our everyday reality anew again with my two young daughters. My four-year-old told me that an elf had visited her room a couple of nights ago, and left his suitcase. (She held up what appeared to be a little doll purse as proof.)

  2. Amber said,

    May 16, 2008 at 12:55 am

    My goodness. Elves must be fancier than leprechauns. My kindergarten/first grade teacher told us a leprechaun would come in and decorate the classroom at night. I often thought I’d see him at home checking up on me but he never left anything behind.

  3. Find comic books in Indiana said,

    July 12, 2008 at 9:16 am

    Find comic books in Indiana…

    […] writes under the name that he does. He doesn’t want people to buy his writing because they think the apple won’t fall far from the tree. He would prefer to succeed on his own merits. Thankfully, the apple doesn’t fall […]…

  4. Amber Stults - Book Reviewer and Author » Brag About Yourself! said,

    September 19, 2008 at 12:01 am

    […] had a tough time choosing only one but I went with my post about Jeff Smith.  My second favorite one is about Janwillem van de Wetering.  Both posts were on the personal […]

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